Even in paradise, sick can happen. And when it does, you may not know exactly where to go or what to do. You’re in a foreign land (so to speak) after all!

Here’s a look at some of your urgent care options in Hawaii, just in case you need medical care while you’re here on vacation:

1. Emergency Room: Of course, if you need immediate assistance with a medical emergency, the emergency room is the best place to go. Oahu has the most emergency room options, with operations out of the Queen’s Medical Center, Kapiolani Medical Center, and Castle Medical Center, just to name a few. On the neighbor islands, your emergency room options are more limited, but every island besides Lanai has a facility that should be able to handle your needs. Speaking of needs, it’s important to remember that emergency rooms are for EMERGENCIES. A stuffy nose or flu symptoms don’t necessarily qualify. Read on to learn more about places you can go for less severe symptoms.’
Patients with the following should go directly to the ER:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Severe shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Suspected poisoning
  • Children with temperatures of 104+ degrees F. or more
  • Adults with temperatures of 103+ degrees F. or more
  • Patients with a fever lasting more than 72 hours
  • Conditions that require a prescription for controlled substances
walk-in clinic

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

In Hawaii, we have many walk-in clinics which are staffed by doctors. For immediate care without the high cost of an emergency room visit, you can see a doctor here.

2. Private Urgent Care Facilities: Hawaii has a severe doctor shortage, so you’ll see plenty of private urgent care clinics around the islands. They’re uusually staffed by doctors, so you’re able to typically get the medciation you need, and you don’t need an appointment to get help. Urgent care facilities are equipped to handle minor lacerations, bone fractures, dislocations, and illness related to respiratory problems. They are one of the best options because they have shorter wait times than the emergency room and the care is less expensive. Most of the private urgent care facilities require that the patient have proof of insurance and also require a co-pay at the time of service. However, you can typically get a full-range of services (minus any imaging, etc.) without a trip to the ER.

3. Drug Store In-House Clinics: Like other states, Hawaii has a good number of CVS MinuteClinic® and Walgreens Healthcare Clinics, which are walk-in medical clinics staffed by nurse practitioners and physician assistants who specialize in family health care. They care for children and adults, every day with no appointment needed. However, some require insurance to provide service and a co-pay at the time of service.

cvs pharmacy

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Recently, major drug store chains, such as CVS, have offered in-store clinics that are staffed by mostly nurse practitioners.

The practitioners:

  • Diagnose, treat and write prescriptions for common family illnesses such as strep throat, bladder infections, pink eye, and infections of the ears, nose and throat
  • Provide common vaccinations for flu, pneumonia, pertussis and hepatitis, among others
  • Treat minor wounds, abrasions, joint sprains, and skin conditions such as poison ivy, ringworm, lice and acne
  • Provide a wide range of wellness services including TB testing, sports and camp physicals, and lifestyle programs such as smoking cessation and a medically based weight loss program
  • Offer routine lab tests, instant results and education for those with diabetes, high cholesterol or high blood pressure
  • Provide care to adults and children 18 months and older for most services
  • Share records with primary care provider with patient permission

When you’re here in Hawaii, you don’t want to miss out on enjoying the many Hawaii activities our islands have to offer. So, don’t let an illness slow you down. Take note of these emergency — and not-so-emergency — urgent care options in Hawaii when you start to feel sick, and you’ll be back on your feet before you know it!

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